Unlawful sack: Court orders PSC to pay Mbu N40m damages

THE National Industrial Court (NIC) on Monday, July 3, ordered the Police Service Commission (PSC) to pay retired Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Joseph Mbu the sum of N40 million as general damages.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the presiding judge, Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osaghae, imposed the payout in payback for Mbu’s forced resignation from the Police before reaching the legal retirement age of 60.

“I hold that the claimant’s (Mbu) premature retirement through a press release on July 2, 2016, is unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect,” the judge ruled.

The court also annulled the alleged retirement and ruled that the claimant continued to serve as an NPF officer until May 10, 2018, when he turned 60 and became required to retire.

In addition, the court mandated the PSC to pay Mbu’s salary, allowances, and entitlements from July 2, 2016, when he was officially retired, to May 10, 2018, when he was legally entitled to retire at age 60.

The judge equally ordered that the sum of N750,000 be paid to the claimant as the cost of the suit, stating that failure of the defendant to comply with the court’s orders within 30 days would attract a 10 per cent interest per annum.

However, the court rejected the claimant’s request for restoration and advancement to the level of a DIG.

Mbu had attained the mandatory retirement age on May 10, 2018, while the lawsuit was still pending; the court explained, thus it could not be upheld.

Mbu hsd, filed a lawsuit against the Commission on July 2, 2016, when he was the Commandant of the Police Staff College, for his alleged forced retirement.

In his statement of facts, Mbu claimed that he was born on May 10, 1958, joined the police on December 11, 1985, and had yet to achieve the obligatory retirement age of 60. He also claimed that he had not worked for 35 years before retiring in 2016.

The claimant consequently asked the court to invalidate his resignation, which he said was accomplished through a press release because he was never given the required statutory notice of retirement, among other reliefs.

Additionally, he asked the court to issue an order telling the defendant to pay his wages, benefits, and other entitlements from July 2016 until 2018, when he was supposed to retire.

Additionally, he asked for N20 million in court costs, N500 million in general damages, and payment of his terminal benefits.

The defendant asserted in defence of itself that the claimant was genuinely dismissed from the force on a formal occasion rather than through a press release.

The defendant further argued that advancement within the force is not assured and that the claimant did not meet all requirements for promotion.

According to NAN, in the court’s ruling, even if the defendant gave up on the case by failing to appear in court to present a defence, the claimant was still required to provide evidence to support his claim.

The defendant was never present in court despite receiving multiple hearing notices, according to the judge, who argued that pleadings are not equivalent to evidence.

Obaseki-Osaghae said that because the claimant’s arguments were not disputed, the defendant was believed to have given up its case.






     

     

    She added that the claimant was entitled to some of the reliefs he requested since he had established his case based on reliable evidence rather than relying on the defendant’s weak arguments.

    Mbu, a former Commissioner of Police in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), took the PSC to court over his alleged forced retirement on July 1, 2016.

    In his Statement of Facts, he claimed that he was born on April 10, 1958, that he joined the Nigerian Police Force in 1985, that he had not yet turned 60, and that he had only worked for 35 years until retiring in 2016.

    Mbu was the Commandant of the Police Staff College until his retirement in 2016.

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